Missing Rules

5ekyu

Adventurer
I agree that vagueness is baked in in to 5E, which for this kind of game I'm a fan of. Even if it does result in thread bloat and arguments that go on forever that at most tables would be resolved in two minutes.

I just don't see that many contradictions. If someone does, maybe they're just overly picky like those click-bait ads "Unbelievable mistakes in movies!" which turn out to be "In one scene the person is holding the glass in their left hand and then in the next it's in their right! How did this happen?". Or maybe it's because the interpretation of the rules is not what the writers intended. Or I'm just too easy on WOTC. :hmm:
LOL one i remember was some sort of "shocking mysteries in Avengers Infinity war..." which included "hey, the black widow went blond and she should be redhead" ans some inexplicable thing for a secret spy on the run from an international police force.

Women dies hair - shocking.
Spy on the run changes looks slightly - unexplained

And yes, clickbait.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
LOL one i remember was some sort of "shocking mysteries in Avengers Infinity war..." which included "hey, the black widow went blond and she should be redhead" ans some inexplicable thing for a secret spy on the run from an international police force.

Women dies hair - shocking.
Spy on the run changes looks slightly - unexplained

And yes, clickbait.
What's worse? That it's clickbait or that we both just admitted that we occasionally fall for it? :hmm:
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I agree. I wish I had made a note about a podcast I listened to a while back from Mr Crawford. One of the things he discussed were the stealth rules where he explained that at one point they had detailed instructions on how to handle hiding and stealth. All written up, ready to go.

They decided to toss them for the rules we have now because they preferred DM discretion and leaving it up to individual groups how to handle it. So what it means to be sufficiently distracted and "clearly seen" are not explicitly spelled out. It's left up to the group.

So that's what I mean by vague, and is my understanding of rulings over rules. There are certainly gaps in the rules and the DM has to make a lot of judgement calls. I only see endless arguments about that on the forums, not in real life.
That last bit is a point i wind up making on more than a few forums or groups where its extremely common for those wanting lotsa clicks to frame the intro post in very very polarizing extremes.

"I find that its great that the vast majority of games played are played and loads of fun in actual play in the vast middle ground between the polarizing extremes we see commonly propped up as if normal in forum posts."

As for the podcast... stealth... rules rulings.

i remember that same podcast. I remember him saying something to the effect that they looked at the big page(s) of stealth micro-details and realized it simply wouldn't cover all the cases, left many more still open and so... made the choice they did which i love BTW.

My experience has been that everytime a game system (RPG TT specifically but principle holds) is released that gets popularity on a sizeable scale that expands to more mainstream, its because of a higher degree of accessability in no small part. That almost always includes a non-daunting approach to the volume and intensity of rules which leads to more "conversational" approaches with fluff and setting intertwined with the "rule mechanics code" etc.

Almost immediately a smaller subset looks for more "rules as hard code" than that and degrees of furor, debate etc rage and inevitably someone releases another game amazingly similar with more "want intense rules" focus for those already into the game etc. Saw a recent PF2 playtest review which praised the "the style of the rules is like a computer language syntax..." etc etc and how there werent fluff and flavor and the focus for the rulebook was "where it should be - on laser tight rules code" (close to quote but really paraphrase."

And i looked at that and went "sure, if your market is folks already into the rpg and who lean towards hard rules hard core gaming."

Seen this parent and child RPG spawn happen dozens of times, its like a fairly typical life cycle that keeps repeating - its like re-runs of reboots of series that were derivatives of early series in the first place.

there's always gonna be a segment that believes "just a few more rules and a few more clarifications and we will get to the right ruleset". As often as not, that also applies to "balance" - one more layer of granularity in the costing balance formula and... yup breath Fresh water should cost 4 and breathe salt water should cost 5 if we keep 1d6 of genericum blast at 5."

personally, i find myself in the camp of "give a good enough baseline and tools/approach to make good calls" as a gold standard for RPG rulesets. its literally a sort of "teach a man to fish" mindset vs a "spoonfed charts a'plenty approach". ("We thought maybe we had gone too far when we published the Midwifery Critical Chart. But, f'n no, turned out we hadn't. Not even close")
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
What's worse? That it's clickbait or that we both just admitted that we occasionally fall for it? :hmm:
oddly enough, both. But i actually did the youtube "dont show me this channel again" plus unsub just the other day on a channel i watched often enough and had found pretty useful when the author did a rather egregious click-bait-n-switch title thing that just caught me on the wrong day in the wrong day so i left a very brief comment about it and unsubbed and "not interested" google-fued it - all that jazz.

Doesn't matter, i am sure he saw a up-tick on his views.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I see what you mean. For sure they deliberately left gaps that call for judgement calls. Possibly also they didn't want to commit to text, rules that they were not very confident was adding value to the game. I suspect that in some cases - especially around the vision mechanics - they just didn't have anything they felt was robust enough to say "do it this way". That is, I think they consciously applied a quality-control check to the rules they decided to include.

Visions rules.... *sigh* now there really is an area I wish they'd done more of the work for DMs!
"We can add three more pages of stealth rules and get about 50% of the remaining questionable use-cases done... So do we toss sorcerer class out for that?"

:)

and BTW i agree - perhaps the single most glaring actual hard core "breaks game if played as written" section to me is "Vision and Light"
 
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smbakeresq

Explorer
Wow I guess my use of 4e rule of DC=feet jumped didn’t cut the mustard for ease of use or playability.

20 pages didn’t convince me to use something else either.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Wow I guess my use of 4e rule of DC=feet jumped didn’t cut the mustard for ease of use or playability.

20 pages didn’t convince me to use something else either.
This is how I do it.

When describing a gap that is too big to jump across automatically, but it's still possible I will say something like "but it's still doable, DC 10" or "it's quite a leap, DC 15." I find that giving my players the DC allows them to visualize the gap better than any description I can give, and does excellent double duty by immediately answering the one question they really have.

(When I draw battlemaps with lots of terrain, I'll mark the climb DC on slopes and cliffs for that reason, too.)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It was alleged that 5e's designers made a specific statement "rulings not rules". Which designer? Where? If the alleged quote turns out to not represent a statement by a 5e designer, then lets look at what they say under Philosophy Behind Rules and Rulings

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/sage-advice/philosophy-behind-rules-and-rulings

Rulings and rules, that seems to be WotC's official position on the subject.
Did you read the article? The rules say that the rules are secondary, that the DM can change them at will, and that the DM needs to rule when the rules don't cover situations. Then they filled 5e with so much vagueness that the DM will need to be ruling on a regular basis. His rulings come first and the rules are secondary. Hence, rulings over rules.'

The article is very clear that 5e is open ended to allow rulings and not hard rules to bind PCs into actions. The bolded sections very clearly tell you that the rules are not intended to be crystal clear, because that would severely limit what characters can do, and D&D is intended to be open ended.

"The DM is key. Many unexpected things can happen in a D&D campaign, and no set of rules could reasonably account for every contingency. If the rules tried to do so, the game would become unplayable. An alternative would be for the rules to severely limit what characters can do, which would be counter to the open-endedness of D&D. The direction we chose for the current edition was to lay a foundation of rules that a DM could build on, and we embraced the DM’s role as the bridge between the things the rules address and the things they don’t.

In a typical D&D session, a DM makes numerous rules decisions—some barely noticeable and others quite obvious. Players also interpret the rules, and the whole group keeps the game running. There are times, though, when the design intent of a rule isn’t clear or when one rule seems to contradict another."
 

clearstream

Explorer
Did you read the article? The rules say that the rules are secondary, that the DM can change them at will, and that the DM needs to rule when the rules don't cover situations. Then they filled 5e with so much vagueness that the DM will need to be ruling on a regular basis. His rulings come first and the rules are secondary. Hence, rulings over rules.'

The article is very clear that 5e is open ended to allow rulings and not hard rules to bind PCs into actions. The bolded sections very clearly tell you that the rules are not intended to be crystal clear, because that would severely limit what characters can do, and D&D is intended to be open ended.

"The DM is key. Many unexpected things can happen in a D&D campaign, and no set of rules could reasonably account for every contingency. If the rules tried to do so, the game would become unplayable. An alternative would be for the rules to severely limit what characters can do, which would be counter to the open-endedness of D&D. The direction we chose for the current edition was to lay a foundation of rules that a DM could build on, and we embraced the DM’s role as the bridge between the things the rules address and the things they don’t.

In a typical D&D session, a DM makes numerous rules decisions—some barely noticeable and others quite obvious. Players also interpret the rules, and the whole group keeps the game running. There are times, though, when the design intent of a rule isn’t clear or when one rule seems to contradict another."
I read a commitment to providing a solid rules foundation, with an acknowledgement that imagination is boundless. Authorising the DM to make rulings when the action goes outside the scope of the rules is pragmatism: it helps play at the table.

I read that their goal is to provide "rules the DM could build on" and that the DM is a "bridge between the things the rules address and things they don't". The rules address some things. Those things that they address lay a solid foundation. The Philosophy calls out that 5e contains rules that are not yet clear enough. A need for rulings does not entail that rulings are superior to rules.

It is fair to say that we haven't yet found evidence that a 5e designer said or wrote the exact words "rulings not rules", right? The section is titled rulings and rules. Use both.
 
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Manbearcat

Adventurer
This thread’s conversation has some similarity to the very large “DC 30...and 35?” thread I started a few years back that was eaten up by the last big board reboot.

Just a few quick thoughts.

1) I don’t have my books with me and I haven’t run 5e for a few years, but the jumping rules seem abundantly clear:

a- A character’s STR is the floor for their long jump in feet.

b- An Ability Check decides the ceiling for a character’s long jump (which cannot be less than their floor).

2) A 19 year old nearly jumped 29 feet last year (without the luxury of being in their physical prime nor world class training). He did this through physical ability and honed technique, the latter of which being crucial (in the same way it is for a trained swordsman). He could trivially and routinely clear 20 feet.

3) The world of D&D appears to have lines of evidence to support either less than earth’s gravity and/or atmospheric friction (at least situationally!).

4) We don’t ask for martial heroes’ approach when they are engaging in amelee exchange in mortal combat (which would involve the technical aspects of martial arts well-beyond the overwhelming percentage of players’ knowledge-base).

5) Why, given 1-4 above, do we need further information on how a martial hero is performing their noncombat archetypal shtick; in this case the technical information about how a martial hero in arbitrarily-relaxed (or weird) physics D&Dland performs a long jump beyond what would be trivial for them (those sorts of jumps which are trivial to earth athletes who couldn’t survive more than a moment in martial combat with most of the mythical D&D creatures)?
 
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jasper

Rotten DM
This thread’s conversation has some similarity to the very large “DC 30...and 35?” thread I started a few years back that was eaten up by the last big board reboot.

Just a few quick thoughts.

1) I don’t have my books with me and I haven’t run 5e for a few years, but the jumping rules seem abundantly clear:

a- A character’s STR is the floor for their long jump in feet.

b- An Ability Check decides the ceiling for a character’s long jump (which cannot be less than their floor).

2) A 19 year old nearly jumped 29 feet last year (without the luxury of being in their physical prime nor world class training). He did this through physical ability and honed technique, the latter of which being crucial (in the same way it is for a trained swordsman). He could trivially and routinely clear 20 feet.

3) The world of D&D appears to have lines of evidence to support either less than earth’s gravity and/or atmospheric friction (at least situationally!).

4) We don’t ask for martial heroes’ approach when they are engaging in amelee exchange in mortal combat (which would involve the technical aspects of martial arts well-beyond the overwhelming percentage of players’ knowledge-base).

5) Why, given 1-4 above, do we need further information on how a martial hero is performing their noncombat archetypal shtick; in this case the technical information about how a martial hero in arbitrarily-relaxed (or weird) physics D&Dland performs a long jump beyond what would be trivial for them (those sorts of jumps which are trivial to earth athletes who couldn’t survive more than a moment in martial combat with most of the mythical D&D creatures)?
hmmm boycubkitten does have a point but. To be snarky.
1. No problem.
2. How dare bring the real world into this. When you can get a job in Slapout Alabama as the official Dragon pooper scooper get back with me.
3. Mom mom mom mom mom manbearcat "is getting science in my Fantasy" two great themes which don't go together.
4. true.
5. True.
How about just doing
1.
1) a- A character’s STR is the floor for their long jump in feet.

b- An Ability Check decides the ceiling for a character’s long jump (which cannot be less than their floor).
2.We don’t ask info which would involve the technical aspects of martial arts/spell slinging well-beyond the overwhelming percentage of players’ knowledge-base.
3. Why in great owlbear droppings are dms asking how the pc clears the extra feet over floor?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I read a commitment to providing a solid rules foundation, with an acknowledgement that imagination is boundless. Authorising the DM to make rulings when the action goes outside the scope of the rules is pragmatism: it helps play at the table.

I read that their goal is to provide "rules the DM could build on" and that the DM is a "bridge between the things the rules address and things they don't". The rules address some things. Those things that they address lay a solid foundation. The Philosophy calls out that 5e contains rules that are not yet clear enough. A need for rulings does not entail that rulings are superior to rules.

It is fair to say that we haven't yet found evidence that a 5e designer said or wrote the exact words "rulings not rules", right? The section is titled rulings and rules. Use both.
Ruling OVER rules, not rulings NOT rules. There's a major difference there. You're also overlooking the DMG.

Page 4: "And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them."

Page 4: "The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM and you are in charge of the game."

The rules are clearly secondary to the DM and what he decides to rule.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Ruling OVER rules, not rulings NOT rules. There's a major difference there. You're also overlooking the DMG.

Page 4: "And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them."

Page 4: "The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM and you are in charge of the game."

The rules are clearly secondary to the DM and what he decides to rule.
It feels like you might be arguing that all D&D rules are ultimately vague because DMs can make rulings on them. To me, no part of what we have cited has stated or even implied such a hierarchy. The rules attempt to be concrete and clear and the DM is expressly authorised to arbitrate upon or alter them as needed. The one does not diminish the other.

Meaning arises in context, and I think we must acknowledge our differing contexts. So far as I can tell, you value keeping the rules as vague as possible - maybe you don't like being bound by them - so you take the words and interpret them for vagueness. I value the rules as the work of expert game designers given time and resources that I don't have - I don't mind being bound by them - so I take their words and interpret them for clarity.

Which is right? I think for me, I come back to the artifacts themselves: the rulebooks. If all rules are vague, then are all rules in the rulebooks empty of meaning? I suppose we would both resist that point of view. So chances are, we accept that rules do have meaning, with you saying that any such meanings are further down in some kind of hierarchy than DMs rulings. I don't think that can really be true, because the commonality across D&D DMs is the D&D RAW. There is more that is similar, than that is different. So I would invert your hierarchy and say, if anything, rules stand above rulings... but accommodate and facilitate them, not prevent them.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Wow I guess my use of 4e rule of DC=feet jumped didn’t cut the mustard for ease of use or playability.

20 pages didn’t convince me to use something else either.
did not make my cut...

18 str... jumps 18 ft easily automatically
18 str jumps 20 ft DC 20 check aka HARD


8 str jumps 8 ft easily.automatically
8 str jumps 10' DC10 check aka easy

Even if we assume tier-2, proficiency for the str18 only (no prof for the str 8 guy) the odds then become
18 to 20' on str 18 guy with proficiency = roll 13+ on die to make the 20 needed.
8 to 10 on str 8 non proficient guy - roll11+ on the die to make the 10 needed

Simply put, not a result i would like to try and sell as reasonable at my table.

if it works at yours, great!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think I'd go with a percentage above what you can normally do. If you're already jumping 20 feet every time without fail, jumping 25 feet most of the time. It's a 20% increase. But a person that can normally only jump 10 feet jumping 15 feet is looking at a 50% increase.

I'd also make it an athletics check instead of strength to reflect training.
 

Hriston

Explorer
I don't set DCs based on the abilities of the character. If a situation includes a gap to be jumped, for example, that's unusually far for some characters such that they need to make a STR (Athletics) check to clear the span, the DC would be the same for each person making the attempt.

I see the designations, easy, medium, hard, etc., to refer to the difficulty for the average person, not the difficulty for the individual making the check.
 
I don't set DCs based on the abilities of the character. If a situation includes a gap to be jumped, for example, that's unusually far for some characters such that they need to make a STR (Athletics) check to clear the span, the DC would be the same for each person making the attempt.

I see the designations, easy, medium, hard, etc., to refer to the difficulty for the average person, not the difficulty for the individual making the check.
This is why I prefer to have benchmarks built into the system.
 

clearstream

Explorer
18 str... jumps 18 ft easily automatically
18 str jumps 20 ft DC 20 check aka HARD
Assuming Tier 2 Athletics, clears 20' in 8 out of 20 attempts. Never fails to clear 10'.

8 str jumps 8 ft easily automatically
8 str jumps 10' DC 10 check aka easy
Assuming Tier 2 Athletics, clears 10' in 13 out of 20 attempts. Clears 20' in only 3 out of 20 attempts.

Given a constant mass, the energy to jump 20' is much more than that needed to jump 10'. The margin between the two results, considered in number of successes, is about +62%. I don't think it is the intent of the Difficulty Class system to scale difficulty by who attempts it. I think you are focusing on +2' (i.e. relative to person attempting), where I believe the system expects you to focus on the total distance covered.

For me, to have a mechanic that easy to remember and fast to use, that produces decent results, sells itself.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Assuming Tier 2 Athletics, clears 20' in 8 out of 20 attempts. Never fails to clear 10'.


Assuming Tier 2 Athletics, clears 10' in 13 out of 20 attempts. Clears 20' in only 3 out of 20 attempts.

Given a constant mass, the energy to jump 20' is much more than that needed to jump 10'. The margin between the two results, considered in number of successes, is about +62%. I don't think it is the intent of the Difficulty Class system to scale difficulty by who attempts it. I think you are focusing on +2' (i.e. relative to person attempting), where I believe the system expects you to focus on the total distance covered.

For me, to have a mechanic that easy to remember and fast to use, that produces decent results, sells itself.
i can see arguments both ways - I prefer percentage, but if you you have a higher strength you're already more likely to succeed anyway.

I'll probably just making something up that makes sense at the time if it ever comes up in my game. Especially since I'll have changed my mind on how I want to handle it by suppertime.

I also like the idea of partial failure for this kind of stuff because it's so common in shows to have them almost make it only to end up barely hanging on. Especially if they're the second person to jump after the bad guy and they're going to die if their partner doesn't help them up because the bad guy has temporary plot armor.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
did not make my cut...

18 str... jumps 18 ft easily automatically
18 str jumps 20 ft DC 20 check aka HARD


8 str jumps 8 ft easily.automatically
8 str jumps 10' DC10 check aka easy

Even if we assume tier-2, proficiency for the str18 only (no prof for the str 8 guy) the odds then become
18 to 20' on str 18 guy with proficiency = roll 13+ on die to make the 20 needed.
8 to 10 on str 8 non proficient guy - roll11+ on the die to make the 10 needed

Simply put, not a result i would like to try and sell as reasonable at my table.

if it works at yours, great!
IMO its just absurd that 18' jump has no chance of failure whatsoever and can always be done but 20' is a DC 20 which is %60 chance of failure (8th level to get to 20 Str and then +3 proficiency IIRC.) Every inch is %2.5 chance of failure, that scales way to fast.

You shouldn't be able to guarantee an 18' jump either because you are strong with an 18 Str. With encumbrance rules (which almost no one uses) you are better off grabbing another PC and making the jump with them automatically if that's the case. A goliath with 20 strength and his large build trait could probably jump with 3-5 PC's and be guaranteed success using PHB, that just makes no sense.


Unless of course I wasn't clear, i.e. there are NO automatic jumps, every jump requires a roll unless it is less than your ATH score+1. I hope that is not the case, I thought I said that. At first level 16 str and athletics proficiency (+5 total) means you guaranteed success is only 6 feet, the minimum score. Boots of striding triple the score as usual, and are much more valuable under my system.
 

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